By Ese Awhotu
The Federal Government yesterday told Nigerians to expect a reduction in the price of rice by 2018.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who stated this at a media briefing in Abuja, said that “Nigeria is inching closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice, due to the success recorded by the Administration in the local production of rice.”
He said the Buhari administration is targeting rice production of 7 million Metric Tons, MT by 2018, in addition to the establishment of rice mills, including the 120,000MT WACOT Mill in Kebbi and the 1,000, 000MT Dangote Rice Mill.
According to Lai Mohammed, the increased production is bound to eventually bring down the price of rice and also bring succour to Nigerians.
“In fact, the Thailand Rice Exporters Association has recently revealed that within a spate of just two years – From September 2015 to September 2017 – Nigeria’s rice importation dropped from 644,131 Metric Tonnes to just about 21,000MT.
“There is more good news to report: As a result of this Administration’s success in local production, some investors from Thailand have shown interest in establishing rice milling plants in Nigeria, and this is sure to further boost rice production in Nigeria.
A few years ago, this would not have been possible since Nigeria was not considered a top rice producing country. Today, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of rice,” the minister disclosed.
He noted that, the improvement in rice production across the country did not happen by accident, but largely due to the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari, which supports farmers through inputs distribution and loans to boost rice production.
Meanwhile, the federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has commended Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed A. Abubakar for giving agriculture especially rice production a massive boost in the state.
A letter of appreciation and commendation personally signed by the Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh described the development as part of the ‘agricultural revolution of the Buhari Administration’ According to a statement by Ali M.Ali (Advisor,Media and Strategy) to the governor, the minister stated in the letter “undeniably, we, in this ministry are very proud of Your Excellency for joining hands with us to move both the agricultural sector and our beloved nation forward. We celebrate Your Excellency and other members of your team in the state, for bring harbingers of change in the agricultural sector. This positive development is gladdening and motivating” The minister charged the governor not to relax on his oars but be inspired to do more in order to consolidate the revolution in the agricultural sector in the state describing a modernized agricultural sector as the key to the future well being of the nation and not oil.